OVILLA – The atmosphere was festive as residents of Ovilla and neighboring communities turned out in force for the Ovilla Service League’s benefit dinner and auction supporting the Ovilla Fire Department on Friday evening at Ovilla Road Baptist Church.

The organization was well on its way to achieving the anticipated 200 to 250 attendance by 6:15 p.m. as folks lined up for the barbecue feast and silent auction. Local candidates running for office in the upcoming county elections and their supporters mingled among the turnout of residents and firefighters.

The Ovilla Service League has been in existence for more than 35 years.

“Our purpose is to serve the city in any capacity needed,” said Donna Hunt, president of the organization. “Every year we hold this event and alternate between supporting the fire department and police department.”

Last year’s event for the police department raised about $5,000 and service league members hope to raise the same amount for the fire department at this year’s event.

Ray and Georgia Williams, who live in the county between Waxahachie and Ovilla, said they heard about the event from women at their church who are members of the service league.

“It is great every year they do this for us,” said Tom Leverentz, Ovilla firefighter and Ovilla mayor pro tem, noting his appreciation for the tremendous show of support from the citizens for the fire and police departments.

In addition to dinner and a silent auction, several elaborate cakes were prepared by firefighters for the bake-off and cakewalk.

Fire chief Donnie Pickard said the money the fire department receives will fund the annual awards banquet in December. Pickard has been with the Ovilla Fire Department for 36 years.

“We have 38 firefighters and volunteers,” he said. “They (the service league) do this for us and the police department.”

Attendees perused the array silent auction items, posting their bids before lining up for dinner catered by Spring Creek Barbeque. 

“We do this every year. They (Ovilla Service League) raise money throughout the year and then hold the benefit dinner,” Mayor Bill Vansyckle said. “They are the true name of the service to Ovilla.”

Contact Rebecca at rebecca.hertz@wninews.com or 469-517-1451.